The incidents of the journey on horseback, and the cruel probation by the dance, are found in the ballad which follows the present (_Fair Janet_), and these coincidences Grundtvig considers sufficient to establish its derivation from the Danish. The _general_ similarity of _Lady Maisry_ to _King Waldemar and his Sister_ is, however, much more striking. For our part, we are inclined to believe that _both_ the English ballads had this origin, but the difference in their actual form is so great, that, notwithstanding this conviction, we have not felt warranted in putting them together.
The young lords o' the north country Have all a-wooing gane, To win the love of lady Maisry, But o' them she wou'd hae nane.
O thae hae sought her, lady Maisry, 5 Wi' broaches, and wi' rings; And they hae courted her, lady Maisry, Wi' a' kin kind of things.
And they hae sought her, lady Maisry, Frae father and frae mither; 10 And they hae sought her, lady Maisry, Frae sister and frae brither.
And they hae follow'd her, lady Maisry, Thro' chamber, and through ha'; But a' that they could say to her, 15 Her answer still was "Na."
"O haud your tongues, young men," she said, "And think nae mair on me; For I've gi'en my love to an English lord, Sae think nae mair on me." 20
Her father's kitchey-boy heard that, (An ill death mot he die!) And he is in to her brother, As fast as gang cou'd he.
"O is my father and my mother weel, 25 But and my brothers three?
Gin my sister lady Maisry be weel, There's naething can ail me."
"Your father and your mother is weel, But and your brothers three; 30 Your sister, lady Maisry's, weel, Sae big wi' bairn is she."
"A malison light on the tongue, Sic tidings tells to me!-- But gin it be a lie you tell, 35 You shall be hanged hie."
He's doen him to his sister's bower, Wi' mickle dool and care; And there he saw her, lady Maisry, Kembing her yellow hair. 40
"O wha is aucht that bairn," he says,[L41]
"That ye sae big are wi'?
And gin ye winna own the truth, This moment ye sall die."
She's turned her richt and round about, 45 And the kembe fell frae her han'; A trembling seized her fair bodie, And her rosy cheek grew wan.
"O pardon me, my brother dear, And the truth I'll tell to thee; 50 My bairn it is to Lord William, And he is betrothed to me."
"O cou'dna ye gotten dukes, or lords, Intill your ain countrie, That ye drew up wi' an English dog, 55 To bring this shame on me?
"But ye maun gi'e up your English lord, Whan your young babe is born; For, gin ye keep by him an hour langer, Your life shall be forlorn." 60
"I will gi'e up this English lord, Till my young babe be born; But the never a day nor hour langer, Though my life should be forlorn."
"O whare is a' my merry young men, 65 Wham I gi'e meat and fee, To pu' the bracken and the thorn, To burn this vile whore wi'?"
"O whare will I get a bonny boy, To help me in my need, 70 To rin wi' haste to Lord William, And bid him come wi' speed?"
O out it spak a bonny boy, Stood by her brother's side; "It's I wad rin your errand, lady, 75 O'er a' the warld wide.
"Aft ha'e I run your errands, lady, When blawin baith wind and weet; But now I'll rin your errand, lady, With saut tears on my cheek." 80
O whan he came to broken briggs, He bent his bow and swam; And whan he came to the green grass growin', He slack'd his shoon and ran.
And when he came to Lord William's yeats, 85 He badena to chap or ca'; But set his bent bow to his breast, And lightly lap the wa'; And, or the porter was at the yeat, The boy was in the ha'. 90
"O is my biggins broken, boy?
Or is my towers won?
Or is my lady lighter yet, O' a dear daughter or son?"
"Your biggin isna broken, sir, 95 Nor is your towers won; But the fairest lady in a' the land This day for you maun burn."
"O saddle to me the black, the black, Or saddle to me the brown; 100 Or saddle to me the swiftest steed That ever rade frae a town."
Or he was near a mile awa', She heard his weir-horse sneeze; "Mend up the fire, my fause brother, 105 It's nae come to my knees."
O whan he lighted at the yeat, She heard his bridle ring: "Mend up the fire, my fause brother; It's far yet frae my chin. 110
"Mend up the fire to me, brother, Mend up the fire to me; For I see him comin' hard and fast, Will soon men't up for thee.
"O gin my hands had been loose, Willy, 115 Sae hard as they are boun', I wadd hae turn'd me frae the gleed, And casten out your young son."
"O I'll gar burn for you, Maisry, Your father and your mother; 120 And I'll gar burn for you, Maisry, Your sister and your brother;
"And I'll gar burn for you, Maisry, The chief o' a' your kin; And the last bonfire that I come to, 125 Mysell I will cast in."
v. 41. See preface to _Clerk Saunders_, p. 319.
From Sharpe's _Ballad Book_, p. 1.
"This ballad, the subject of which appears to have been very popular, is printed as it was sung by an old woman in Perthshire.
The air is extremely beautiful."
Herd gave an imperfect version of this ballad under the title of _Willie and Annet_, in his _Scottish Songs_, i. 219; repeated after him in Ritson's _Scottish Songs_, and in Johnson's _Museum_.
Finlay's copy, improved, but made up of fragments, follows the present, and in the Appendix is _Sweet Willie and Fair Maisry_, from Buchan's collection. We have followed Motherwell by inserting (in brackets) three stanzas from _Willie and Annet_ and _Sweet Willie_, which contribute slightly to complete Sharpe's copy. None of these ballads is satisfactory, though Sharpe's is the best. Touching the relation of _Fair Janet_ to the Danish ballad of _King Waldemar and his Sister_, the reader will please look at the preface to the preceding ballad.
"Ye maun gang to your father, Janet, Ye maun gang to him soon; Ye maun gang to your father, Janet, In case that his days are dune!"
Janet's awa' to her father, 5 As fast as she could hie; "O what's your will wi' me, father?
O what's your will wi' me?"
"My will wi' you, Fair Janet," he said, "It is both bed and board; 10 Some say that ye lo'e Sweet Willie, But ye maun wed a French lord."
"A French lord maun I wed, father?
A French lord maun I wed?
Then, by my sooth," quo' Fair Janet, 15 "He's ne'er enter my bed."
Janet's awa' to her chamber, As fast as she could go; Wha's the first ane that tapped there, But Sweet Willie her jo! 20
"O we maun part this love, Willie, That has been lang between; There's a French lord coming o'er the sea To wed me wi' a ring; There 's a French lord coming o'er the sea, 25 To wed and tak me hame."